Fleet Street’s famous printing and graphics archive, the St Bride Library in London, finally reopened this week following the completion of its £100 000 refurbishment. A new reading room has been created, as well as a permanent display on the history of the library.
Both have been designed by architect Robson Warren. Partner at the practice Peter Warren describes the 6m x 8m reading room as ‘a tiny project com pared with the works the library wants done’. He confirms that ‘specialist design consultancies [will be brought] on board to conceive interiors and exhibitions’, if the next phase of work for the St Bride Library goes ahead. Earlier this year, St Bride’s hopes of a full renovation were dashed when both the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund rejected its request for funding of £7m. St Bride now intends to wait until after the Olympic Games in 2012 to apply for the bulk of its public funding.
‘We want to redesign to create a light, airy and attractive space,’ says a spokeswoman for St Bride. ‘This refurbishment is the first step to ensure the future of this remarkable and unique national library.’ There are plans to build an on-site museum exploring the history of printing and of Fleet Street, as well as an education area. ‘We have the planning permission and intend to pursue a full-scale redevelopment in the next five to eight years,’ the spokeswoman adds.